PACE Plan Basics - How to Prepare Using PACE

PACE Plan Basics – How to Prepare Using PACE

Preppers are adept at planning, but do you know what a PACE Plan is? If not, you should. Being flexible is important, but for you and your family to have the best chances of survival, careful planning is key.

If you’ve ever seen an Army field manual, you know how thoroughly the military plans. The reason the Special Forces are so successful is because they plan, plan, drill, and then plan some more.

They practice so many times that they can execute automatically, almost at will. If things go wrong, they have a fall-back/backup plan that kicks in without the need to communicate it. Survival success is all about planning, practicing, and more planning.

A PACE Plan is an excellent all-purpose solution to being fully prepared in an organized but flexible way.

A viable, well-practiced plan can assist in security, communications, when SHTF or for general operations, but you also need to have backup plans in case things go wrong. Realities often change when you actually hit the ground running; a PACE Plan is an excellent all-purpose solution to being fully prepared in an organized but flexible way.

What is a PACE Plan?

PACE is an acronym that refers to a hierarchy of sub-plans. The letters in PACE stand for:


We’ll take a look at each of these components individually:


“Primary” refers to the best overall plan of action you and your loved ones can take, the system to use based upon the most likely damaging scenario you stand to deal with. It’s your “Plan A,” and it’s valuable — but sadly, in terms of planning, this is where most people tend to stop. Your Primary plan may be a solid plan, but unless it considers different disaster scenarios and the things that could go wrong, how good can it really be?

An example Primary plan would be that in the event of a disaster scenario, your family members would contact each other via cell phone. However, flexibility is needed, and backups are invaluable. Primary plans should be specific, but withflexibility built in.

In this example, any party could initiate a call and each party should have at least two ways to access all phone numbers. However, this plan is not fool-proof; what if some parties lose their cell phone service or their cell phones?


In theory, your “Plan B” (Alternate) plan will be as viable (or nearly as viable) as your “Plan A,” or Primary plan. Why have an Alternate plan? Because “things” happen, especially in a crisis situation. Your exact alternate plan will be is situation-dependent, but in general:

Avoid creating what amounts to a secondary version of Plan A. Determine the most likely problems of your Primary plan and create a plan that won’t be affected by those issues. Look for any holes in your Primary plan and find an alternate that covers those potential pitfalls.

Continuing with the example, if a family member is without a cell phone, the alternate plan shouldn’t require one. Gmail’s instant message, Facebook chat and Skype could be viable communication alternatives. However, you shouldn’t stop there, as Internet connection can be spotty; remember to always remain as flexible as possible.


A Contingency plan refers to what you’ll do if Plan A and Plan B do not work, for any reason. The Contingency plan usually isn’t as good as A and B, but backups to your backups are crucial. Your Contingency plan should be something that doesn’t rely on what the Primary and Alternate plans require.

For example, if cell phones and internet are no longer viable, driving to one anothers‘ primary locations could be the next step. If no one is there, leave a note and head to the next person’s residence or workplace. Presumably, the others in your group would be doing the same.


The Emergency plan is the one you initiate if all else fails. The Emergency plan may be very good, but the main key is that it be highly flexible and have the highest chance of succeeding, regardless of circumstances. It may not be the most convenient plan, but it should be as “fool-proof” as possible.

Perhaps your Emergency plan would involve using a ham radio, assuming all parties have one? (Be sure everyone has gotten their ham radio licenses; arrange regular checks with all parties.)

Now you know the basics of a PACE Plan. With just four steps involved, every prepper can take the time to create a comprehensive PACE Plan.